Arizona Cocktail Week Means Shaking, Stirring, and a Phoenix Vs. Tucson Bartender Showdown

Mild weather of a Valley winter got you down? Get ready for seven days of shaking, stirring, and smashing -- spirit-style -- courtesy of Arizona Cocktail Week.

Taking place Sunday, February 19, through Saturday, February 25, the first Arizona Cocktail Week invites folks 21 and over to imbibe in a week-long celebration of the cocktail. And since it overlaps with the dates of Arizona Beer Week (Seriously, how did this even happen?), fans of both may need to plan wisely.

Featuring some of bartending's national stars along with home-grown talent, educational seminars, tastings, and a Phoenix vs. Tucson bartender showdown in and around the Hotel Valley Ho and other Metro Phoenix hotspots, fans of the cocktail have options a-go-go when deciding on how best to celebrate mixed alcoholic concoctions.

Let's take a look at a few of them.

Seminars (think "Whiskeys of the World," "Craft Cocktails in a Flash," and "I Love Blenders/I Hate Blenders) take place on Monday and Tuesday, February 20 and 21, at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale and are $25 each. For a complete schedule of topics, times, descriptions, and speakers, go here.

Cocktail and spirit tastings, also on Monday and Tuesday, February 20 and 21, take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the "Oh Pool" at the Hotel Valley Ho. The cost is $25 for each day or free if you're signed up for a seminar that day.

From 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 21, at the Red Revolver Lounge in Scottsdale, The Last One Standing Ultimate Shakeout will pit eight Phoenix and eight Tucson bartenders of the United States Bartenders Guild against each other in a race against the clock to see who can build the best cocktails from randomly selected spirits and ingredients in a paired, bracket-style elimination competition. Admission is free, but space is limited. For more information, go here.

For the rest of the week, several cocktail bars, lounges, restaurants, nightclubs, and watering holes in Metro Phoenix will be offering a distinctive drink or two. For a list of venues, go here.

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